Wright, who has been receiving treatment and physical therapy near Los Angeles since late May, made the short drive out to Dodger Stadium on Friday to be with his teammates, much as he did last month in San Diego. Back then, Wright was emotional, offering few specifics about his short-term future. Friday, Wright was far more upbeat, discussing at length the details of his rehab.
But the Mets' captain stopped short each time he was asked about a potential timetable for his return, or even for an advancement to baseball activities.
"There are some obstacles I have to accomplish before I move on to start gearing up baseball stuff," Wright said. "But I'm definitely moving in the right direction and I feel more confident that the progress, I can feel it. I can feel the progress more now than I could've the last couple weeks or month or so."
"He's very definitely more positive than he had been," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "But at the same time, there hasn't been a significant change in his routine. He hasn't transitioned from the level of rehab that he's had to something more strenuous, more baseball-related. So we're just going to have to wait and see."
Recently, Wright began the types of mobility exercises he will need as stepping stones to running, which will in turn pave his path toward fielding, hitting, cutting on the basepaths and other such baseball activities. Wright said that while he has his own internal timeline for those things, he cannot do anything until spine specialist Dr. Watkins clears him. He meets with Dr. Watkins most Mondays near Los Angeles.
"This is a very ambiguous situation that we're just going to have to wait and see what happens," said Alderson, who suggested as recently as two weeks ago that Wright could return immediately after the All-Star break -- a timetable that has since become impossible. "We're not relying on him being back at a certain time. That may have been the case a few weeks ago, but I think that we're more realistic about that now."
More than anything, Wright fears advancing too quickly, knowing that if he suffers a major setback and must undergo surgery to correct his stenosis, his future would become far cloudier than it is even now. But as he mentioned, he is running out of time. Because Wright has not appeared in a game since mid-April, he would need a significant number of Minor League rehab at-bats before returning to the Mets. That process, in addition to his baseball-activities progression, could occupy a significant portion of July and even August.
"I feel like every day's a step forward," Wright said. "I feel like I'm doing that, I'm progressing. It's a slow progress, but it's a progress indeed."